September 19

Making healthy foods delicious with Chef AJ

We discuss how:

– A low fat plant-based diet has many healthy benefits

– Fruits, vegetables and whole grains have the right caloric density

– Animal products and processed foods are addictive

– It’s possible to make healthy food delicious

– Chef AJ gives plenty of ideas for preparing delicious salads

– A plant-based diet correlates with low BMI and body weight thus preventing many diseases

– Chef AJ started eating plant-based at 43

– Green smoothies are a great introduction to vegetable eating

Clint: Thanks for joining us today on the Paddison podcast special guest today Chef A.J. Good day chef A.J.

Chef A.J.: Nice to see you. Thank you for having me.

Clint: Yeah this has been a long time coming. This is dedicated. This podcast actually our first dedicated podcast and this one has to Ellen who has been playing matchmaker for us for a long time she’s been really you know on my case about you’ve got to get chef A.J. on the podcast She’s just the greatest wealth of knowledge and so thanks for taking some time out.

Chef A.J.: Oh, thank you. And we’d love Ellen and she’s doing so well on your program. She’s doing well and generals just wonderful to see that people can actually reverse their diseases and price, you know.

Clint: Absolutely. And we were just talking before we started recording about how isn’t it interesting that your sort of area of influence which is around weight loss and my area of influence which is around rheumatoid arthritis. The approach is so similar isn’t it. We’re talking about a low-fat plant based diet and it seems that you know this this incredible approach has so many health benefits.

Chef A.J.: It’s amazing that it’s not one diet is not needed for all the different diseases it actually is. It’s a pretty much one size fits all or at least one size fits most because the diet that Dr. Esselston recommends to his patients with advanced heart disease is almost exactly the same as the ultimate weight loss program I mean he does allow squid of a higher caloric density like flours but it’s pretty much like you said a low fat plant based diet. It pretty much never doesn’t work. It’s amazing.

Clint: That’s right. That’s right. So how did you come about this sort of career that you’ve got now because you and I have a similar parallel and it’s quite unusual for for this combination. I mean I’ve been doing standup comedy for 17 years. I haven’t I haven’t performed in the last three months since we’ve moved across to Florida but plan to get back into it. You of what some of your hilarious clips on some major US television station shows here and here in the States.

Chef A.J.: This is a biggie. Yeah.

Clint: Yeah. Some really big appearances. And now you’re you’ve got this profile in a completely different genre. So how did that come about.

Chef A.J.: You know here’s the thing I think it’s you if you’re comfortable speaking in front of people you could have a career whether that’s showing them how to cook or telling them how to lose weight or doing comedy. I think. Speaking of speaking on the idea as you connect with your audience and I think humor is one of the best ways to connect because if you can make them laugh they tend to pay more attention. And you know I never planned on this career. That’s the truth. If you know me you know that I wanted to be a veterinarian. That’s what I want to be. My whole life and instead became a vegetarian when I went to the University of Pennsylvania.

Chef A.J.: But what happened is in the year 2000 I was taking cooking classes at a school that’s no longer in existence. I think it was maybe one of the first beacon culinary schools all beacon culinary schools founded by Ryan Flegal. It was called Dick and Jane cook vegetarian and I was just a person that was participating in these cooking classes every Saturday and I would bring food that I made you know for them just because I love to cook since I was seven and they say oh you’re pretty good. Yes, thanks they go. Would you like to teach a class? And I’m like well okay. And they go know you’re really funny. So they called it they call it something like comedy cooking for health and good looking.

Chef A.J.: And the idea was that I was going to do recipes and be funny. And so, it just the marriage was natural to be an instructor of cooking. And I mean because I think I’m sort of somewhat naturally funny. I like to look for the humoring things and it was great and I found the teaching cooking was just wonderfully inspiring because it’s getting more people to eat more plant based foods. So that’s. It wasn’t even my idea that the man whose idea was his name was Edward. He actually passed away. So, thank you Edward coz It was his idea to marry the two. And I think it’s a great marriage because you know when people laugh i also do singing. By the way I’m not a professional singer but I when I do my cooking cabarets as I call them every month I do three musical numbers they’re Parodies is but I wrote the words and I’m not a great singer but also music I think. Anything to get people to pay attention they’re going to learn more if you get them laughing. They you know they seem to they seem to like it. It’s s I mean I’m sure that laughing must do something with those neurotransmitters because I know that when people laugh they feel better. And when I make people laugh there’s nothing tickles me more than when I can make somebody laugh and I’m just to get after. Thirty years it’s been thirty years and a few days since I’ve been on the Tonight Show.

Chef A.J.: I’m finally getting back into it I started taking acting classes again not acting so much but improvisational comedy because I couldn’t have been anything in life. That’s what I would have been in private not stand up because stand up is scary. I mean that’s the other thing Clint if you can stand up in life you can do anything you know. And I know I’ve given so I used to be an activity director at a retirement home.

Chef A.J.: And that was my job. And so, I was always the one that had to give the eulogy. And people think oh it’s so hard like no it isn’t. once you standup comedy nothing is hard because that’s a scariest thing.

Clint: Absolutely. Yeah. Comedy. It took me years and years and years to develop any degree of competence in it. And yeah, I mean it’s based on its own and you know how interesting that story of yours. Yeah, I think it’s a it’s a great parallel.

Clint: Now you’ve also done something that most people consider really difficult which is to lose weight. Yeah. You know my audience are particularly unique bunch in that most people listening to this are going to be saying Oh no Clint. Don’t ask how to lose weight. My challenge is the opposite because I like losing a little bit too much weight. So, what are we what do we dive straight into that. Talk about calorie density and how it comes about.

Chef A.J.: Actually, my passion is not a very interesting subject necessarily that you can find a lot of humor in. But if somebody wants to gain weight just do the opposite of what they say because truthfully losing weight is actually quite easy. Most people do it it’s the Maintaining it is where people really struggle and I maintain this 50-pound weight loss for over five years now. But what I basically teach is something called calorie density. You can see that I’ll get a nice close up this is a magnet that I sell and I learned this there’s a lot of places actually was it was taught in the plant based movement forever by Dr. McDougal and his book McDougal program for maximum weight loss. Problem is I didn’t actually read that book until after I lost weight. And it was talked about and Dr. Dean ornish’s book in 1980 eat more weigh less because that is the basis of calorie density where if you understand it you can eat more food in volume and weigh a lot less. If that is your goal. But where I really learned it was from a book I picked up in a dollar book store called volumetrics written by Dr. Barbara Rolls he’s not that face but she really is. Or eating a lot like fruits and vegetables. I actually interviewed her and she has studied the field of calorie density more than anyone else in her laboratory at Penn State University where she studies human eating behavior and what she determined was that human beings eat the same amount of food per day roughly. And that’s usually three to five pounds.

Chef A.J.: Now that doesn’t mean that I eat the same amount as say. Patrick Barbour the strongest man in the world who also happens to be vegan and or an Olympic athlete. We all have different ages metabolism height and things like that. But on average most humans eat about three to five pounds of food a day in order to feel full and satisfied. And the reason diets fail so many people is because they instruct them to eat less food which is very difficult. And so they end up getting hungry and then they end up over eating and gaining the weight back. But if you understand calorie density you can keep the amount of food that you’re used to eating every day the same because satiety that feeling of fullness that you get when you eat it actually starts with the eyes. So when you see these smaller portions you already expect not to feel full and satisfied t So you can keep the amount of food you eat the same simply by changing the average calorie density. And when people understand that for the same amount of calories in one mere tablespoon of olive oil you can have two pounds of zucchini. They start to realize that wow if I want to eat more food and weigh less then I just need to change the average calorie density of the food i eat And by taking oil out which you know pretty much all the plant based doctors I’ve ever spoken to agree with not eating oil all of the doctors Dr McDougall Dr ferman Dr gregor Dr Esselston o I don’t know any plant based doctors. I personally don’t. There may be some that advocate eating oil of very highly processed food. Without fiber without nutrients. Oil is 4000 calories a pound

Chef A.J.: It is literally the most calorically dense and nutritionally poor food on the planet. And just by taking that food out of the diet a lot of times sometimes even other changes aren’t necessary. People lose weight because in nature foods are not 4000 calories a pound. Oil is not a natural whole natural food it’s a highly processed food. I don’t know anyone honestly that can make all of oil or coconut oil in the kitchen because you know you could take an orange squeeze it make orange juice but when squeezed an olive nothing comes out most people can’t even open a coconut. But if you stick to that are found in nature like fruits and vegetables whole range legumes. These have an average calorie density of less than 600 calories per pound. And most people can eat freely of these Meaning they can eat at libitum as much as they want as often as they want whenever they want until comparably full. But unfortunately, most Americans eat something like less than 10 percent of their calories from whole natural eating instead. Over 92 percent of their calories from animal products in processed foods. foods have a much higher caloric density. And so oil for example 4000 calories a pound there. There’s no food.

Chef A.J.: As high caloric density and it won’t fill you up because there’s no fiber. And when you eat foods without fiber you just won’t get full because it’s the fiber in food plus the water and food creates what’s known as bulk and bulky create satiety and fruits vegetables whole grains and legumes. They have the water in the fiber intact and they’re a low caloric density and then other foods that Americans eat a lot of our processed foods like like sugars and flours which are 1500 to 1800 calories a pound They’re inflammatory to do any of that out in nature. They go through the same refining process as drugs and alcohol. Now all people that suffer with weight issues or food addiction these are not foods that they would probably want to eat. But even if they were healthy and I don’t believe they are the caloric density is so high that very few people can be lean or lose weight eating foods high caloric density a I use the distinction to the right of the red line because if you eat through the red line you pretty much can if all you want and then animal products for example which caused so many problems that just in terms of the people you work with but just in general health problems are strongly linked to cancer heart disease diabetes and autoimmune disease. Again, these are foods of a higher caloric density. They average about 1000 calories per pound some being much higher.

Chef A.J.: So you know if you just if you just eat food from a plant instead of this processed in effect you’re pretty much going to do okay you’re going to either avoid these diseases in the first place or if you already out there pretty much reversed them. I mean I love what Dr McDougall say it never doesn’t work and so far I haven’t seen anybody that really does diet the way they’re supposed to where it hasn’t worked whether it’s for the auto immune disease or weight loss or heart disease or type 2 diabetes not type 1 that’s different. You don’t on certain cancers I can’t say that you know it this way you’re going to overcome cancer or not at all but I still see people improve from any disease they have. And you know even the psychiatric ones which they say you know you know there is there you can’t get better at saying that you cannot get 100 percent better. But boy when you get the food right. Everything really does get dialed down and improve if not completely ameliorate it. It’s just amazing that something so affordable and safe.

Chef A.J.: It’s not, you know you would think that you know if it was Dr. Campbell but a plant based diet was a pill that would be on the outside magazine but you don’t need a pill. you just needed to eat plants pretty much.

Clint: Yeah. It’s fascinating.

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Clint: And someone asked me the other day who was who was incredulous as to why more people don’t eat this way and I have to think about what is my short answer as to why more people don’t eat this way. And one of the thoughts that I had and I know that there’s many different viewpoints on this is that one of it is is just a conservation of energy.

Clint: You see you know people think that well I guess we’ve evolved to have to chase after foods and whatever form out of food that is. And we inherently want to conserve energy. And so if we can get high fat foods quickly.

Chef A.J.: Absolutely.

Clint: Then we’ll go for it won’t we. And also, you know it takes less energy to argue with someone who believes in a different opinion. So it’s easier it’s less energy to conform with the masses it’s less energy to just do what you get told by the TV commercials. It takes less energy to order a pizza than to cook a meal. It takes less energy to think about what’s the truth versus just going with the flow. And so I think a lot of it comes down to just and it’s not laziness it’s the human’s ability to try to conserve energy. So, you know we need to apply ourselves this little bit of energy to get the most amazing outcomes.

Chef A.J.: Have you read the book. called the pleasure Trap by Lisle and Goldhamer?

Clint: I met Dr. Goldhammer recently when I gave a talk at True North. And he and i had a wonderful chat that’s sitting in the cupboard right next to me to read. Now am I on the same train of thought as what he’s got in the book. Am I?

Chef A.J.: Right Absolutely. By not reading it you’re actually conserving energy. Both. Dr. Goldhamer dr lisle n would make wonderful interviews for you. There such entertaining guests in the book they discuss something called the motivational triad that human beings are all organisms are designed to seek pleasure avoid pain and conserve energy. So you’ve got that right. That is also you know I would add also that one of the reasons people eat the way they eat is because the foods that they’re eating the animal products and processed foods are addictive. And they secrete more dopamine in the brain they give them more pleasure they are highly unnatural. And they do cause in many people at least a low-grade addiction. And it’s very hard for them to not eat them once they’re introduced. Now there are people that haven’t had this food I’ve met people from Ethiopia people from Uganda that have never had processed foods they don’t have this particular problem with not eating them but it’s like they’re so addicted. There were books written on this a few years ago. Once called sugar fat and salt or salt sugar and fat How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss. One was called The End of over eating where Dr. Kessler and Michael Moss both. Explained that sugar fat and salt are addictive and when you put them together in processed food and restaurant food they become hyper palatable. And people who absolutely can’t resist them. And so I think that one of the reasons people don’t eat the way that we recommend is that by comparison the way we recommend is just going to be less pleasurable at least at first. Plus, you have the whole social thing which is just a nightmare for people. That’s one of the hardest things for people is it’s hard enough if you’re going to follow a plant based diet which very few people do. But then you say well no way. Oh no. You know it’s you become it becomes smaller. And most people don’t want to be different than their peers in their family. It’s very hard to find especially for women. Even if it will save their life and make their life ultimately more enriched it is it’s a very hard thing for people. But I do think that if the foods weren’t so hyper palatable and addictive it would be easier for people to stop eating them.

Clint: Yeah absolutely. All right. Well let’s talk about making the foods that we know and love and are good for us more palatable and more interesting and more delicious.

Chef A.J.: So, it is absolutely you know I have a book called on process and that all the recipes will be suitable for people following a lower fat diet. I wrote this seven years ago so I use nuts and seeds. My new book coming out this year will have no added fat but it’s really possible to make healthy food delicious. And I don’t think you have to be a chef but you just have to learn to appreciate the taste of whole natural foods like potatoes and sweet potatoes and maybe learn different cooking methods that you’re not used to like cooking without oil like this just this year for my birthday that a machine called an air fryer and it’s taken my food to new heights because I always thought the food i ate was delicious but then I got it in the air fryer and it’s like even foods I didn’t really care for like mushrooms or cauliflower are now like delicious because I don’t know what happens in that machine. I’m not putting anything on it but something happens in an air fryer. We can make the most delicious and crisp sweet potato fries and French fries. And so there’s cooking methods that people can learn and that would help.

Chef A.J.: And I don’t know if they necessarily new recipes they need to just start you know widening their palate maybe eating foods they didn’t grow up eating. I certainly didn’t grow up eating kale or sweet potatoes. And now there are two of my favorite foods and they have to try the new foods and try them more than once because you know if you have a baby or baby a baby you know just give them the spoon and then if they turn their head you just say Oh well yes the kid’s not going to eat.

Chef A.J.: No. You keep offering it and offering it and sometimes it takes multiple tries for a new food to become a preferred food. But if you keep doing it you won’t learn to appreciate and actually love and then eventually prefer the taste of this new way of eating into the old way. Assuming you’re not still eating that the other way or at least that isn’t so much about as the primary source of your calories.

Clint: Right. OK. But what about them. I encourage a tremendous intake of leafy green vegetables. Yes. And I did it the hard way. And I used to up and still do all eat salad straight out of a bag so I’ll get those three times prewashed bagged just extra leaves. And oldest item like potato chips straight out of the bag sometimes.

Clint: And you know I don’t have a problem with the plain taste of the salads. I I’ve not really ever revoked it. But a lot of my clients like to keep asking what can we put on our salads. So what are your thoughts around this.

Chef A.J.: I actually have a free video. I have a Web site called and I do all these webinars are a few of them have a small fee but a lot of them are free. And I think it’s either called what I eat in the day or how I cook for a week. I do this little video where I call the eight secrets to superior’s salad satisfaction and they give a lot of tips and tricks on how to make salads. The main dish is how to make them delicious. And so I’ve got to try and remember all my S’s but one of the S’s of course is the salad. So whether it’s the Romaine or the greens or Obviously for it to be salad you’ve got to have a certain amount of salad. But then one of the things I do to make it better is to add more delicious because I agree I can eat plain leafy greens out to is to add sweet and by sweet. I don’t need sugar or candy I mean some kind of a fruit and you know if you have fruit sometimes that’s all you need for dressing pomegranate seeds some pineapple whether fresh or unsweetened canned a cut up right pear of grated apple. These things in a salad really make it absolutely delicious. One of the things I recently interviewed John Mackey and things I really love about whole foods especially if you go to a big one is they have the most extraordinary salad bar because they don’t just have one kind of fruit. They have every kind of fruit.

Chef A.J.: They have peaches and pineapple and every kind of berry So if you can add some fruit to your salad that’s going to not only make it more delicious but when you have vitamin C it actually helps you absorb some of the iron in in those leafy greens. So one thing would be some kind of a sweet by sweet I mean some kind of fruit or multiple fruits it’s already going to balance some of the bitterness and you’re going to absolutely enjoy your salad or even blend the fruit you know you can make salad dressing and a bag of frozen raspberries. And you could put in a date if it’s not sweet enough or even some mustard. So there’s really ways to make fruit your friend by either pureeing get the dressing or just putting it in you know true north where you work their salad bar. They have this huge salad bar 24 and then they have all the vegetables and they have fruit in. They have different kinds of fruit mellah. It doesn’t matter whatever time you like but putting fruit in your salad will make it so much easier to eat a salad. So that’s I think one of the biggest tips that I give.

Clint: That’s brilliant because normally after about 12 or 14 15 days people can start to introduce some kind of fruit. Blueberries is often one of the people and what they might be absorbed in this plan to a blend of blueberries. I’m starting to get the picture that they could put on their salad.

Chef A.J.: Absolutely. Now if your people are allowed vinegar then it first can make amazing dressings and vinegar I don’t mean just your plain rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar which is fine.

Chef A.J.: And if you enjoy it and some people do but they have what’s called reduce vinegars or they have flavored vinegars and these do not have sugar or the only sugar would be from the grapes. I mean some brands may add sugar or but the brand that I love is one called Bema and Pas it’s the one that they serve at the engine to conferences so I figure if it’s good enough. Dr. Esselston it’s good enough for me and chef Terry has probably over three flavours so some are more savory because everybody likes sweet but some are more savory in flavors like white garlic, garlic cilantro, smoke enthuse and some are more sweet like peach or raspberry and some are in the middle and some of these are reduced means they’re very very thick and very sweet. And I actually used to love those now my sweet tooth has been dialed down so I prefer non-reduce flavors like grapefruit or black cherry. They’re not that sweet. And those can make a delicious dressing by themselves. I mean you don’t need any oil. You don’t need any spices when you have a really good quality vinegar that you love and you don’t necessarily have to buy them online. Whole Foods sells a couple of brands I love like Napa Valley Natural’s which is 4 percent acidity so it’s a lot sweeter than your typical 6 percent vinegar. There’s other you know but find what you love because When people think of vinegar as we’re not talking about like Heinz white vinegar that you clean house with we’re talking about good quality and a flavor that you like or take off you know like I said a lot of times when you have that fruit that little bit of fruit salad sometimes even just an orange squeezed over it or lemon or lime might be enough. Now not everybody needs or like sweets so anything can be salad dressing so I’d love Pico de Gallo salsa for example. And the recipe in my book. You can buy it. So on a salad that’s delicious and salsa again sometimes can be made with Mango instead of tomatoes

Clint: Oh yum. Yeah that’s good.

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Chef A.J.: So salsa on a salad can be your salad dressing. Plus you put in more vegetables believe or not hummus when especially if you’ll thin it out with a little water or a little bit more lemon juice that makes an incredible salad dressing and mixing blending hummus with salsa in a blender. That’s a terrific salad dressing. If people can eat more fat like in terms of avocado nuts or seeds very very easy you can make a delicious salad dressing using those things. So if you have something wet yourself like. Beans for example especially if they’re salt free beans from a can they have a certain amount of wetness in them. Those things just make salads absolutely delicious. Also putting something I like to call something savory on my salad. So for example if I’m going to roast vegetables which I do often I especially love to roast things like Brussel sprouts and I often roast them in balsamic vinegar and Dijon mustard having something like that on the Salad makes it more interesting. Also having different textures and your salad. So for example if you just need a bowl of lettuce it’s kind of maybe boring for a lot of people but if you had that with you know something crunchy like I was like one of the S’s in my secret is SNAP’s or something like some jicama or some celery or something crunchy to do that or maybe I have some cooked roasted sweet potatoes just different flavors. And one of the things I love to do I don’t eat salt.

Chef A.J.: So sometimes I’ll put a piece of sea vegetables in it maybe terrible couple pieces of dulse or a norishi So I think eating salads is an art. We’re actually in my group we’re doing something called the salad days of September or for 30 days everybody is posting a photo of their huge salads and then the variety is endless. When it comes to salad you eat a different one every day of the month probably every day of the year. When you think of all the possible combinations with vegetables and fruits and different vinegars and and dressings and oh the other things to make salad I don’t know if you allow starch on your program but even if up you just in the Salad you just eat lettuce a hundred calories a pound in you can eat a pound of it and you make it full for like 20 minutes which you to be pretty hungry. So I always recommend adding some kind of satiating search to my salad. I happen to love cooked grains like rice or millet or quinoa either hot. Sometimes I like combining hot and cold or even leftover cool. I love putting the leftover sweet potato on my salad cut up so some kind of starch like beans to to give that stick to it. But again like if your viewers have a whole foods near them. I mean they do an extraordinary job because their salad bar isn’t just like lettuce tomato cucumber, It’s it’s like four stations. It’s like so many choices of the grain of the bean of the green of the fruit. It’s just extraordinary I mean if I could any true north does a pretty good job to have if I could only get by the time I put everything on it’s a 20 dollar salad because it’s about I think like 7.95 per pound but it’s extraordinary in and they can get used to just eating these different flavors and varieties and they may never need to be bored because there’s just so many possibilities and you know like people that don’t like greens for example. Well you know having a mouthful of rock kale probably wouldn’t be very pleasant for me. But if there’s a tool that I recommend It’s called an ulu knife they’re from Alaska but you could get one in the States called the Mezzaluna and sometimes if you don’t like something if you cut it very small it’s less offensive to. So you take things like we have a Trader Joe’s here with a blend called cruciferous crunch and it’s red cabbage green cabbage Brussel sprouts kale. One other thing in it but it’s cut so small that it just it just goes down so easy. So sometimes it’s how you cut things and you and I so I love taking my ulu knife. After I have all my ingredients and then actually getting a boudin ball and chopping it because it is kind of hard to just have these big mouthfuls. But if you have a chopped salad which you want a restaurant they’ll charge you for five dollars more you can make it at your home y You can use a food processor if you’re very gentle you know on the pulse blade it you can take this much volume and reduce it to about this much volume it makes it delicious because it’s all uniform it makes it easy to eat.

Chef A.J.: But if people can learn to fall in love with salads and at least we always say at least one salad the size of your hand every day preferably two they’ll be healthy. If they want to be lean that’s also a way to do it because you really just you can’t go wrong in a salad. I can’t imagine any diet style that would tell you not to eat vegetables.

Clint: Absolutely. And what I find really interesting is that you know even even approaches that we consider to be sort of ridiculous like a paleo approach and like approaches that involves you know meat foods. I notice that the people who improve on those improve temporarily and often through the elimination of oils and through eating lots of greens so as not. But it’s not the cleaning up of the meat that’s done it it’s the reduction of one of the worst offenders which is the oil and in addition is the best thing possible which is the Greens and little get you so far and then you have to wait.

Chef A.J.: Absolutely. And you know I when I when I lecture I always talk about how with the exception of those very strict weighing and measuring programs that tell you that you only seven ounces of vegetables. Other than that. Every diet style whether it’s low carb or paleo or zone or Atkins or weight watchers they emphasize eating as much fresh fruits and vegetables as possible especially vegetables and you know it’s interesting because I just attended and spoke in Dr Neil Bernard’s international Conference for nutrition and medicine and they talked a lot about Alzheimer’s. And people always associate blueberries as brain berries is something to help prevent. And there is your great by the way but the lecturers The medical doctors were saying no that the food is absolutely most correlated with preventing Alzheimer’s wasn’t it food it wasn’t bloomers it was actually vegetables. And it’s also the food was correlated with having lean body that people eat the most vegetables have the lowest BMI and body weight. You know Dr. Esselston Uses vegetables therapeutically he tells heart patients to eat steamed greens the size of their fist six times a day to help heal their endothelial lining of their of their vasculature. So it’s amazing because it’s like the food that most people don’t eat at all. Like most Americans eat I know less than 10 percent from fruits and vegetables and i think Some Americans eat no vegetables I think it’s something like 3 percent is how many people actually eat vegetables and most caloric density. Is the food that’s highest and nutrient density. And the fact that most people are not eating any of it or anywhere near enough.

Chef A.J.: And it’s astounding to know that that you know your mother was always right eat your vegetables.

Clint: Yeah absolutely. It’s also the favorite food of gut bacteria. So what we’re doing is we’re creating a wonderful microbiome at the same time.

Chef A.J.: So it’s that’s what we’re meant to eat. You know people say we’re omnivores. Well maybe we are but we’re also herbivores I think because we you know we can stand to eat quite a lot of our of our food from vegetables out raw or cooked for about you know. And they really are they really are. The other thing well I love to talk about not even know this at first when I started my ultimate weight loss program and insisted that people eat large amounts of vegetables at least two pounds a day and in one pound for breakfast people thought I was nuts. Well this was in the literature back then I just didn’t know about it. But there are compounds in vegetables especially the green leafy and the dark green leaves that actually turn off the hunger switch that actually make us feel not hungry. And then for those who suffer with food cravings particular for sugar that annihilate that it’s just they really are they’re really almost magical. The trick is how do you get people to eat them because they’re so low in caloric density they just don’t seem like the amount of dopamine I mean in the brain that gets people excited and wanting to eat them. You know but when people can really do that I mean you can learn to tolerate them and then you can learn to actually love them and then actually to prefer them. When people say well i hate vegetables okay. So I was that person until I was 43 I didn’t eat a single fruit and vegetable. And that’s how I got to be about 200 pounds with the beginning of colon cancer.

Chef A.J.: And the way I started eating vegetables was the same way I started exercising after 50 years of inactivity. I started eating the vegetable I hated the least. And I just I kept doing it and then and now I just when I don’t get vegetables like when I travel internationally on a cruise I feel like I’m going to withdrawal you know. You know.

Clint: Yeah. Absolutely.

Chef A.J.: My dog is sitting on my lap. You’re supposed to be a hypoallergenic dog. but its like bailey come on you’re making me all.

Clint: What are your thoughts. Tell me what are your thoughts on green smoothies for people who are really struggling with eating their greens.

Chef A.J.: I think I think that for people that will not eat vegetables any other way. It’s a great introduction to vegetable eating because they can control how much green they put in relative to fruit. I think it floods there’s cells in balance them in these micronutrients and it kind of opens the door to that because I know that I didn’t go from drinking coke Slurpee’s to eating steamed vegetables in the morning the green smoothies were a great ridge for me. However if somebody is trying to lose weight liquid calories are not favorable. But that said if somebody said well I don’t know juice or blend my greens I’m not gonna eat anymore. Well of course I’m never going to say well then don’t do that. But if somebody is struggling to lose weight it’s not the most favorable way. But it is just a great way to get more greens in that person especially somebody like a child or an old person or somebody with teeth issues. I think I think they can be great.

Chef A.J.: Please keep in mind the green smoothies can vary from one that is mostly greens. I’ve seen people with green smoothie recipes that have like one leaf of spinach and coconut oil and cacao nibs and almond butter. Then recently the operative word green smoothies should be green.

Clint: Yeah. Gotcha. Yeah. I recommend them to people who are struggling under.

Chef A.J.: And that’s how it start?

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Clint: Yeah. And my recipes are normally just blueberries and baby spinach Or banana and baby spinach I mean two ingredients simple and as clean as possible

Chef A.J.: You know I travel a lot. People say well how do we eat healthy when they travel. Well most airports I got to have a place like a juice place like a jumbo juice. And even if you can’t see it on the menu I have gone there and just like you say I said Can you please make me a smoothie and water kale and blueberries or maybe a banana and they’ll do it if they have the ingredients they’ll do it even if it’s not on the menu. And those can be very refreshing I think. Now I think of smoothies is sort of like a treat you know.

Clint: Yeah absolutely. Yeah me too. Delicious the some of the road here.

Clint: Melissa and I get them as a treat.

Chef A.J.: Especially I a hot day you know they can be amazing and it’s great. sometimes It’s fun to even freeze them in like little ice cube trays and then like any ice cube like popsicles.

Clint: Right, That’s what one of our clients who had a who has a son who’s been through juvenile idiopathic arthritis and recovered using Paddison Program he gets all of these wonderful treats from his mum all of these amazing healthy treats. And Christine. Her name is who creates all these different treats has come up all in different ways of creating amazing nutrition that taste great for her child. And she’s is doing unbelievably well.

Chef A.J.: I think for kids you know I think most kids are just down a spinach smoothly without a little bit of fruit or something but you know it’s like you can make it pretty sweet for the kid and then like just a little bit take a little bit less every day. You know I’ll tell you there are actually more greens and you know something like here’s the thing I like spinach is pretty neutral. I mean it’s not like you know I mean kale you know dark green kale can be pretty bitter for people they haven’t had it before but spinach is so neutral. I like it. I I have gotten people like children to eat green smoothies with spinach just by putting a little bit of carrot powder or coco powder. And they don’t even know that they’re green.

Clint: Yes absolutely. Absolutely. All right. Well we’ve covered some interesting territory here.

Clint: I’ve taken some notes and I’m sure a lot of people are excited to try out the area around the green salads. You’ve got a video that people can watch by going to

Clint: You will find lots of videos on there including one all about salads and I’ve taken some notes here. We can add some fruits we can add some certain types of vinegars not the cheapos from the from the regular grocery store right we can. Yeah some salsa is another option on top of the salads

Chef A.J.: I love this. Absolutely.

Clint: Some diluted hummus if we’re still at the stage where Fats are a little bit of a challenge for us with our digestive system or with inflammatory arthritis some savoury options the seaweed was a great tip and that’s something that you know I’m a little delinquent I should have been mentioning that I used to put lots of seaweed on my salads too and just like yourself. Dulse. calmly Depending. Sometimes they’re really hard work. I mean they can hurt a little. If you’re not if they’re in to bigger pieces. And then some sweet potatoes on the salads as well. So there’s been some great some great tips there.

Chef A.J.: But more than that I don’t do this often but my friend Sharon McCray taught this to me like if somebody already has a soup like maybe they’ve made a red lentil Chile or a split pea soup as weird as it sounds. But a little bit of hot soup on a salad. It’s delicious. It’s so delicious and that that can be your dressing. It really does. It’s really good. And especially salad is more like a sturdier green like it like a kale or a spinach just sort of just kind of wilted nicely so kind of this hot cold combination. It can be really delicious.

Clint: Yes. Fantastic. All set. All right well thank you very much for coming on this episode and I’m sure a lot of people got more questions but I want to respect your time and we can go to where we can get more of Chef a.j. You also I noticed you’ve got a weekly Wednesday.

Chef A.J.: Yes at 4:00 p.m. Pacific time. I. I had no idea that this was gonna go on and I was I was trying to broadcast was funny because I trying to broadcast my own group which I know have to do now but I pushed the wrong button and they ended up broadcasting to everybody. So now I’m on my 45th episode is called Weight loss Wednesday it’s 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. if You just follow Chef a.j. don’t have a personal page and then you can ask questions in real time. Or go to YouTube and watch them within 24 hours and it it’s kind of fun you know.

Clint: Yeah absolutely. I was actually just watching it when you message me and said Hey I’m ready to go. And I’m like hang on a sec. Oh no I was enjoying it you know. Yeah you. Yeah. Very entertaining so thanks again

Chef A.J.: you’re a stand up where can I find that on my YouTube channel just for YouTube. Clint Paddison. There’s a there’s a mixture of stuff on there. Stuff around what I do relevant to what we’re talking about. And then some bunch of YouTube videos some of it more on the older side you know what happens. You kind of you. You tend when you’re starting out in your career you post every clip you’ve ever had. And I get better and better. You like. I’ve got better things to do than to get stuff on line. But yeah there’s some there’s some stuff on there for sure.

Chef A.J.: Like well you should go to the vegan cruise and entertain and the cruise ship that would be amazing.

Clint: I would love to. In fact our friend Dr. Klepper is going to be on that. He’s coming our way. That’s at the end of.

Chef A.J.: It’s usually March February or March.

Clint: It’s in February. And I think it’s heading to Australia.

Chef A.J.: How will that be.

Clint: Which is where I’m from. And I I need to get back to him and talk cause he is gonna come over this way and I have the pleasure of hosting his hosting you meet for a couple of nights. I hope him and his wife at least.

Chef A.J.: You should lot of videos with them while he’s there

Clint: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. We like the Dr. Clapper time yeah. Yeah. So it’ll be exciting but I’d love to are you going on that cruise.

Chef A.J.: Three years I haven’t gone recently. It’s wonderful and I recommend it but I was thinking you know having a stand up comedy that would be talk to sandy if can be a wonderful addition.

Clint: Well I’ll have to get the contact details after we get off the call at. Did you do stand up on that cruise.

Chef A.J.: I didn’t. I actually taught cooking and gave lectures. But you know when I do cooking you know you could almost call it stand up the rest of the audience and I’m in the moment and saying inappropriate things occasionally so I kind of consider my cooking a little bit like stand-up because I never know where it’s gonna go.

Clint: Oh sure. Sure. OK. Well thanks so much once again. It’s been a real pleasure. Everyone head over to Thank you Chef a.j. for your time.

Chef A.J.: Thank you.


caloric density, green smoothies, low fat, Plant-based

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